First Half Observations: Seahawks 23, Cowboys 15
While the points on the scoreboard haven't piled up quite as expected due to a variety of critical mistakes, the first half of Sunday's Week 3 tilt between the Seahawks and Cowboys turned into a track meet as expected.
Backed by Russell Wilson's three touchdown passes to Tyler Lockett, Seattle went into the locker room with a 23-15 lead after two bizarre quarters that featured multiple blunders from both teams. This included a late interception thrown by Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott to Shaquill Griffin that set up Wilson's third scoring toss to Lockett with less than 10 seconds left in the half.
Here are some quick takeaways from the first half of action at CenturyLink Field:
1. An uncharacteristic gaffe by DK Metcalf looms large with two quarters left to play.
Seattle went into the locker room with an eight point lead, but they should be up by 15. Late in the first quarter, Wilson found Metcalf wide open on a vertical route, but the receiver decided to coast into the end zone and did a poor job securing the football, allowing cornerback Trevon Diggs to punch it out from behind for a touchback. The Seahawks came back and forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but those seven points could come back to bit the home team after intermission.
2. Much to the surprise of many, there's actually been a little bit of defense in this game.
With both the Seahawks and Cowboys dealing with injuries in the secondary and already struggling to slow down opposing passers in recent weeks, few expected there to be many defensive stops. But the two teams actually combined to punt six times and Seattle also took advantage of a botched kick return by Tony Pollard midway through the first quarter to set up a Bryan Mone safety. The late in the half, Griffin undercut Amari Cooper's route and with Prescott being blasted by defensive tackle Jarran Reed, he reeled in his first interception since 2018.
3. Offensive line depth - and pass protection - could both be real problems for both teams after the break.
Both offenses have been moving up and down the field despite a plethora of injuries in the trenches. On just the second drive of the game, the Seahawks lost standout rookie guard Damien Lewis to an ankle injury and he didn't return, while starting left guard Mike Iupati exited late in the half with a knee issue. Jordan Simmons and Jamarco Jones replaced them in the lineup. As for the Cowboys, they were already without tackle Tyron Smith and center Joe Looney left with an ankle injury in the first half. Both teams produced four quarterback hits in the first half, but those numbers could go up in the next two quarters given the attrition in the trenches.
4. Defensively, rookies Jordyn Brooks and Alton Robinson are giving the Seahawks a bit of a lift.
Starting his first NFL game, Brooks produced a pass defensed on the first drive of the game and did a nice job overall in coverage at weakside linebacker. Though he only had one tackle, he's been very active and did a nice job avoiding big mistakes. Up front, Robinson has made his presence felt, including producing his first NFL tackle for loss blowing up CeeDee Lamb on a double reverse. Look for the fifth-round pick to continue to make an impact against two backup tackles in the second half.
5. Russell Wilson is really damn good. Not like you needed me to remind you of that.
Even on a day where Wilson has misfired on some throws he normally would complete and benefited from some serious penalty calls, including a questionable late illegal contact call on the Cowboys to set up his last touchdown to Lockett, he still completed 15 out of 22 passes for 198 yards and now has 12 touchdowns through two and a half games. And if not for Metcalf's mistake, he would have already tied Patrick Mahomes for the most touchdown passes through the first three games in NFL history.